Sidi Bou Marouan Mosque
Hegira 425 / AD 1033
The Sidi Bou Marouan mosque is situated in the upper part of the old town. The prayer hall is built on the rock, but the terrace that surrounds it on both the northern and eastern sides is built over two levels of caves that could have existed before the mosque itself. The sahn (courtyard) has undergone too many transformations for its original state to be still understood. One can, however, compare the current appearance of the minaret to those portrayed in old lithographs to get an idea of the changes it has been subjected to. R. Bourouiba, in Apports de l'Algérie à l'architecture arabo-islamique (see Bibliography), points out a small prayer hall that is accessed through the minaret: 'Only a single monument, to our knowledge, possesses a tower with a prayer hall. It is the Khalaf tower in Sousse … As the Khalaf tower is not a minaret, we can say that the Sidi Bou Marouan mosque is the only mosque that has a prayer hall within its minaret.' The prayer hall (19.21 m x 19.64 m) is divided into nine balatat (naves) and seven bays. Ancient columns serve as supports for the arches, and the capitals feature abacuses and imposts, small pillars from which the semi-circular horseshoe arches spring. The transformation of the prayer hall into a hospital ward entailed major changes: two rows of columns were recast into square-based pillars, and the construction of an upper room entailed the destruction of two domes, one of which covered the middle section of the gallery in front of the hall, the other of which crowned the front of the mihrab.View Short Description
This mosque is situated in the upper part of the old town of Annaba and has been modified in the past. The prayer room was built on the rock while the terrace on its north and east sides covers a two-level cellar that may predate it. The courtyard has been altered. The almost square prayer room is divided into nine naves of seven bays. The arches are supported on Antique columns topped with abacuses and imposts. The minaret includes a small prayer room.
G. Marçais dates the construction of this mosque to be 425 / 1033 through stylistic analysis and reference to the book Dourra maknouna by Ahmed al-Bouni (due to be published in translation in 2006).
Berbrugger, A., Algérie historique, pittoresque et monumentale, Paris, 1843.
Bourouiba, R., Apports de l'Algérie à l'architecture arabo-islamique, Algiers, 1986.
Bourouiba, R., L'art religieux musulman en Algérie, Algiers, 1973.
Lessore and Wyld, Voyage pittoresque dans la Régence d'Alger, Paris, 1835.
Marçais, G., L'architecture musulmane d'Occident, Paris, 1954.
Ali Lafer "Sidi Bou Marouan Mosque" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2017. 2017. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=monument;ISL;dz;Mon01;19;en
Prepared by: Ali LaferAli Lafer
Architecte diplômé de l'École nationale d'architecture et des beaux-arts d'Alger, stagiaire du Centre international pour la conservation et la restauration des biens culturels (ICCROM) à Rome, Ali Lafer a été architecte en chef des Monuments au ministère de la Culture pendant son service civil. Directeur de l'Atelier Casbah chargé des études d'aménagement de la médina d'Alger, il a également enseigné au cours de Tunis pour la formation d'architectes du patrimoine maghrébin. Membre fondateur de l'association “Les amis du Tassili”, il est aussi chercheur dans les domaines de la numérisation de la documentation graphique et du relevé photogrammétrique.
Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Maria Vlotides
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen
MWNF Working Number: AL 25